London police under fire over confrontation with man near anti-Israel march – JONATHAN TURLEY

London police have come under fire this week for threatening to arrest a yarmulke-wearing man near a pro-Palestinian march. Officers inform Gideon Falter, head of the watchdog Campaign Against Antisemitism, that he was “antagonizing” protesters by being “openly Jewish” at such a march. He was told that if he tried to cross the street while “openly Jewish” he would be arrested for breach of the peace.

In the video, a police officer said: “You are very openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march, I am not accusing you of anything, but I am concerned about the reaction to your presence.”

Another officer later added: “You are being escorted out of this area so that you can go about your business, go freely wherever you want or, if you choose to stay here, because you are breaking the peace with all these other people . , you will be arrested.”

Falter was also told that it was “counterintuitive” to be openly Jewish at such a march.

Activists have long protested the dangers of “driving while black” by inciting police stops and threatening arrest. Falter seems to have demonstrated the danger of ‘walking while Jewish’ in London.

The Metropolitan Police later apologized but was forced to issue a second apology after posting a message that has since been deleted rack That

“In recent weeks we have seen a new trend emerge, with those opposed to the main protests appearing along the route to express their views. The fact that those who do this often film themselves doing so suggests that they need to know that their presence is provocative, that they are provoking a response and that they are increasing the likelihood of an altercation.”

Calling an openly Jewish man “provocative” only confirmed the officers’ original statements. As a result, the police had to issue a new statement, stating that the previous one “had been deleted. We apologize for the offense this has caused.”

What’s just as disturbing is the threat to arrest a man who did nothing wrong based on his identity. These threats were made when protesters insulted him for being Jewish.

Notably, Britain has embraced a wide range of criminalized language, with people arrested for making hateful or derogatory comments against groups or individuals.

A man was convicted of sending a tweet while drunk referring to dead soldiers. Another was arrested for an anti-police T-shirt. Another was arrested for calling his ex-girlfriend’s Irish boyfriend a ‘leprechaun’. Yet another was arrested for singing “Kung Fu Fighting.” A teenager was arrested for protesting outside a Scientology center with a sign calling the religion a “cult.”

We also discussed the arrest of a woman who was praying to herself near an abortion clinic. English courts have criminalized ‘poisonous ideologies’ as part of this crackdown on freedom of expression.

I opposed those laws. Yet this incident shows how arbitrary the enforcement of such laws is. The police simply ignored the anti-Semitic comments against Falter and confronted him with his openly Jewish character. That does not mean that I am in favor of enforcing criminal speech laws. Rather, it demonstrates the additional danger that such laws pose in enforcing them.